Gunter Demnig

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Gunter Demnig (August 2018)
Demnig when laying four stumbling blocks (August 2018)
Video about the laying of a replacement stumbling block for the Auschwitz decree in front of the Cologne City Hall in March 2013 after the original set in 1992 was broken out and stolen

Gunter Demnig (born October 27, 1947 in Berlin ) is a German artist . He became known for the stumbling blocks that he has been laying in memory of victims from the time of National Socialism since 1996 .


Demnig grew up in Nauen and Berlin . In 1967 he graduated from high school and began studying art education at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin with Herbert Kaufmann . 1969/70 followed a year of industrial design studies at the same university. From 1971 he continued his art education studies at the Art Academy in Kassel and passed the first state examination there in 1974.

In the same year Demnig began studying art at the University of Kassel with Harry Kramer , who was followed in 1977 by planning, construction management and execution of monument renovations for two years. From 1980 to 1985 Demnig was an artistic and scientific assistant in the art department of the University of Kassel.

Profession and work

In 1985 Demnig opened his own studio in Cologne and worked on several projects, such as the Moltkerei workshop and the Fuhrwerkswaage art space. Since 1994 he has also worked at the IGNIS cultural center.

Since April 2011 Demnig's studio in Frechen has been in the Signalwerk art center , which is located on the site of the former train station of the Cologne-Frechen-Benzelrath railway . About 20 other well-known artists in the region also operate their studios there. In 2017 he moved his studio to Elbenrod in Hesse .

Stumbling blocks

Demnig became known for producing or laying the so-called “ stumbling blocks ”. They are intended to remember people who were deported during the Nazi era and mostly fell victim to the Holocaust . The stones, with small brass plates with the names of the victims on the top, are laid in the pavement or sidewalk in front of their former homes. The project, started in 1996, has been the largest decentralized memorial in the world for years with 75,000 stones in 1265 German municipalities and in 24 European countries .

Remembrance Stones

The Remembrance Stones project, based on the Stolpersteine, aims to promote the memory of victims of Franquism . The memorial stones, which are also 10 × 10 × 10 cm in size, have a silver surface made of stainless steel. The first Remembrance Stones were laid on the island of Mallorca in mid-December 2018 .


Works (selection)

Text tracking device from 1990 "... a trace through oblivion"
  • 1980: “Scent Brands” Cassel – Paris
  • 1981: "Blood trail" Kassel – London
  • 1982: "Ariadne-Faden" from the Kassel documenta to the Venice Biennale (entry in the Guinness Book of Records )
  • 1984: "Landscape Preserves"
  • 1988: "Entry Berlin / W"
  • 1990: "May 1940 - 1000 Roma and Sinti" - traces of paint from the former Gypsy camp in Cologne-Bickendorf to Deutz train station along the deportation route of the Cologne Sinti and Roma who were brought from Deutz to concentration camps
  • 1993: Development of the idea of ​​stumbling blocks
  • 1996: Illegal laying of the first stumbling blocks in Berlin and Cologne
  • 1996/1997/1998/1999: “The walls of Jericho”, scenic oratorio with sound sculptures to the music of Werner Raditschnig in Salzburg (Kollegienkirche), Klagenfurt (Künstlerhaus), Český Krumlov (Egon Schiele Center), Cologne ( Domforum des Kölner Domes), Millstatt (International Music Weeks in the Collegiate Church), staged by Herbert Gantschacher and produced by ARBOS - Society for Music and Theater with live recording of the Austrian radio and audio CD (ARBOS 04); Antwerp (Opera Mobile)
  • 1997: First legal laying of two stumbling blocks in the municipality of St. Georgen near Salzburg ; in memory of the brothers Matthias and Johann Nobis
  • 2000: Legal continuation of the Stolpersteine ​​project
  • 2011: Own tomb in the artist necropolis in Kassel

Exhibitions (selection)



Web links

Commons : Gunter Demnig  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. BIOGRAPHY. Retrieved April 28, 2020 .
  2. ^ Gerhard Kaminski: Stolpersteine: Artist Gunter Demnig finds a new home in the Vogelsbergkreis. In: April 4, 2018, accessed September 17, 2019 .
  3. BIOGRAPHY. Retrieved April 28, 2020 .
  4. ^ Deutsche Welle : Nazi memorial project now has 70,000 "stumbling blocks". In: October 23, 2018, accessed January 24, 2019 .
  5. In: Retrieved October 16, 2018 .
  6. Interview with Gunter Demnig: 40,000 stumbling blocks, 40,000 fates ( Memento from December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) In: , July 5, 2013.
  7. Mallorca newspaper about the relocation. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  8. ^ Website of the artist.Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Award ceremony 2005. The Red Cloth, accessed on September 9, 2010 .
  10. ^ Giesberts-Lewin Prize. ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) In: 50 years of the Cologne Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation
  11. Ambassador for Democracy and Tolerance. Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance , 2008, accessed September 9, 2010 .
  12. ^ Stuttgart: Gunter Demnig awarded the Otto Hirsch Medal. In: Stuttgart Journal. January 25, 2011, accessed January 25, 2011 .
  13. 10 years Marion Dönhoff Prize: Awards go to Karl Schwarzenberg and the Stolpersteine ​​project , on, accessed on June 17, 2018
  14. ^ Lothar Kreyssig Peace Prize
  15. "Stumbling block" initiator receives Order of Merit
  16. “Stumbling blocks” for warning reminder ( Memento from April 22, 2015 in the web archive ) Press release from Jehovah's Witnesses from July 17, 1997
  17. Ordinary members. German Association of Artists V., accessed on August 16, 2018 .
  18. Gunter Demnig was accepted into the artist association. In: Retrieved August 17, 2018 .